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I have to play with thermostat to get my heating system on

I have a 2 year old natural gas, forced air heatinig system. My thermostat is set at 68 and the room temp is only 62. When I woke up thin morning I took the thermostat (honeywell digital) off of the wall and when I put it back on the wall the heating unit automatically turned on. This has happened several times where I had to either reset the thermostat or the system. Can someone tell me what the problem could be?

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You did not make it clear if the thermostat is a programmable unit or not. I am wondering if the thermostat is not set on the correct heat anticipation setting. A heat anticipater is a small heater that helps the thermostat turn off before it over shoots the desired temperature setting. If the thermostat is set for a 5 degree setting, it will turn off at 63 degrees if set at 68. If the anticipater was set at 1 or 2 degrees, it will shut off the heater at 66 or 67. Newer thermostats will only allow the thermostat to cycle 6 times per hour so if you never reach the desired temp, you have to wait 10 minutes before it will allow a call for heat. Check the installation instructions to see if there is a setting where you can get the anticipator temperature closer to your set temp. Good luck.

Posted on Dec 11, 2009


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Pro 4000 thermostat is set on heat 73 but inside temp is 64 how do I fix? It's only about 2 weeks old.

If you switch to cooling mode and run that test, it may help pin down the problem with thermostat. However, the cooling wiring is independent of the heating system for most of the wires. Checking if the fan runs in the fan-only setting will check if that message gets to the HVAC system from the thermostat. (This only applies for forced air systems.)

There are two possible sources of the problem. The problem could be at the thermostat. Sometimes one (or more) of the conductor wires came loose from their terminals. Alternatively, one of those wires has broken. Pull the thermostat off the wall plate by pulling up at the bottom. Make sure that all of the wires are secured fully (either by the screw or push-connection). If any wire is damaged, cut off the broken section and strip a bit of insulation. Then secure the wire. (Use the labels to make sure that they are at the correct terminal.)

The alternative is a problem at the furnace. Check for power first. A tripped circuit breaker is not unknown. After that, the could be a problem with the control system, the ignitor (for gas or oil heat sources), a blockage at the exhaust or air intake (for high efficiency heating systems) or the blower motor (for forced air systems). Some heating systems have LEDs that indicate an error condition. Look to see if there is any blinking lights. Use your furnace manual to check what those codes may mean.

Clear around the exhaust outlet and air intake if you have any debris or snow/ice near there. Make sure to take safety precautions for a roof/chimney exhaust. Look at your furnace manual to see if there is a test option.

For my current HVAC system, you can test with a jumper wire. A few months ago, the heat didn't come on and that test proved that the blower motor didn't spin up. (The system has an interlock that stopped trying to provide heat when the motor doesn't spin properly.) A new motor was installed and the problem was solved.

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